the sting that lost its bite

The latest sting school. operation turned out lost all its bite when the reporter in question was arrested. I am referring to the case of the school teacher accused of waylaying girls students in Delhi. Though the story had created furore and even rioting when aired, somehow it had not rung true and I had chosen not to comment on it though I often find myself reacting to stories about abuse of children.

Sting operations seem to be the flavour of the times and they have undoubtedly redressed many a tort and brought justice to some. And though one had even been at the origin of Ghaziabad girls operation, the silence that ensues such operation is sometimes too deafening to bear making us wonder as to the role the media can and should play in such cases.

It is true that in the past year of so the media has risen as a watchdog bringing to light many wrongs hitherto hidden. The power of images and the ability to edit and replay them brings stark realities into the very privacy of our homes making us react and one has seen people reaching out to others in gallant ways.

Sting operations have a role to play in waking up the slumbering conscience of a lethargic civil society and that is why one should not allow it to be hijacked to even personal vendettas or suit vested interests. If there are more such fake stings that we run the risk of having restrictive laws slammed on them.

Media has to be extremely cautious and conscious with such operations and not view them as a simple way to up their TRP rates. They also need to follow up and inform their audience on the outcome of each case. Only then can this powerful tool become an agent of change.